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Farmers' BountyLocating Crop Diversity in the Contemporary World$
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Stephen B. Brush

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100495

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100495.001.0001

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The Measure of Crop Diversity

The Measure of Crop Diversity

(p.46) 3 The Measure of Crop Diversity
Farmers' Bounty

Stephen B. Brush

Yale University Press

This chapter examines various ways of defining and measuring crop diversity. Diversity can be measured in different ways. It exists at different levels, for instance within and between plants and within and between populations. Folk measures, which emphasize the useful part of the plant, are key to understanding crop species' distribution and evolution because it is folk knowledge that has guided the selection and maintenance of diversity over thousands of years. Genetic measures include both qualitative and quantitative traits and genetic markers. Ecological measures allow population structure and distribution to be addressed, and the relation between crop diversity and changes in agricultural environments to be analyzed. The chapter reveals that all three of these measures are necessary to address the pressing question of the fate of agricultural diversity as human population, society, and technology undergo rapid and fundamental change away from the conditions which generated diversity in the first place.

Keywords:   crop diversity, folk measures, crop species, genetic measures, ecological measures

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